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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From the time that the South lost the Civil War and went into decline, there was talk of a New South in virtually every era. Much of that New South was never going to occur until the civil rights movement, but even after that time, the creation of a New South was very much in question.

But is it today? In so many ways, the South has reinvigorated itself on virtually every level and has become a draw for so many people from the North, as well as from foreign nations. Southern cities boom, southern universities thrieve. Yet poverty and public education still trail other parts of the nation.

My question is: is the New South a dead issue? Has the South risen to where this is no longer an issue, despite the areas of growth that still need to take place. My sense is that the issue is dead now; what do southerners think?
 

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It's all meshed together. I don't feel like things are particularly regional anymore. With that said, I live in New Orleans, and we've always kinda been an exception to these kinds of things. We just keep on trucking along at our steady pace going through ups and downs. This is probably more of an Atlanta, Charlotte, Birmingham, Memphis question....
 

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The phrase "New South" was coined mostly as a nod to industrialization. Needless to say, cities like Birmingham, New Orleans and Atlanta achieved that goal a long time ago.

Culturally speaking, it certainly seems as though the South has changed its face in th past 50 years... definitely, in the past century things have changed drastically. Education is no longer a back-burner issue, race relations are no longer a matter of life and death, and the idea of "Southern culture" is something that's increasingly viewed as an anachronism.

I think the South still has some improvement to do, but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty much caught up to the rest of the nation. I don't see a huge divide between the South and North (and Midwest, West, etc.) the way there once was. If anything, the South is pushing closer and closer to the cutting edge of American culture and economics. I think the idea of a "New South" was a myth to begin with, but if it could ever have existed it would be now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Justadude said:
I think the South still has some improvement to do, but in the grand scheme of things it's pretty much caught up to the rest of the nation. I don't see a huge divide between the South and North (and Midwest, West, etc.) the way there once was. If anything, the South is pushing closer and closer to the cutting edge of American culture and economics. I think the idea of a "New South" was a myth to begin with, but if it could ever have existed it would be now.
that pretty much matches the conception I had when I started the thread.

there are two related phenomenia that, hand in hand, have have created a remakable change in our nation since the second world war:

1. the Civil Rights movement and the effect it has had on the rights and opporutnities of African Americans. While we still have a long, long way to go to reach the equality that should be there, it is remarkable how the African American community and those allied with it were able to say "enough is enough" and to have put not only slavery, but Jim Crow, deep into history...where they belong.

2. the liberating effect on white southerners and all southerners that the Civil Rights movement created. Whites were freed equally as blacks when the fiction of a two tiered, racist society was exposed, put out there for all to see. And dealt with. And, as a northerner, believe me, I'm not letting my region off the hook, with its own sorry record on the issue of race. However, southern racism differed from northern in how it was codified and institutionalized, and breaking down those barriers is a credit to all southerners. For all the push on the part of blacks to get equal rights, it never would have happened without the good will many, many uncounted and unrepresented southern whites.
 

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edsg25 said:
2. the liberating effect on white southerners and all southerners that the Civil Rights movement created. Whites were freed equally as blacks when the fiction of a two tiered, racist society was exposed, put out there for all to see. And dealt with. And, as a northerner, believe me, I'm not letting my region off the hook, with its own sorry record on the issue of race. However, southern racism differed from northern in how it was codified and institutionalized, and breaking down those barriers is a credit to all southerners. For all the push on the part of blacks to get equal rights, it never would have happened without the good will many, many uncounted and unrepresented southern whites.
That truly is an excellent point - the 1950/1960's was a tramautic period for the South - but it was highly needed. Rather than a gradual period of integration that occured in the rest of the nation, in a short period of time white southerners had to quickly adjust to their 'new' south. I think it was somewhat of a cleansing period for many, almost a baptism - that not only were their attitudes unethical, they were often unlawful.

Yet this period in a sense mobilized whites even more - spawning a new era of neo-conservatism & republican activism. Nonetheless, rather than stigmatizing a race of people, the federal activism that was vilified by many became the primary enemy.

But to get back to my point - the 1960's illegalization of segregation not only forced the law books to change, but attitudes. And particularly due to the great struggles that civil rights activists endeared & the ultimate martyrdom of Martin Luther King Jr, a human tragic face was televised to white living rooms - giving some closure to what was considered the perculiar institution.
 
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